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Is it time for the world to talk to Hamas?

| 19:30 UK time, Thursday, 5 July 2007

Peter Dobbie here. We're off air now - but you can listen again by clicking here.

A group of British parliamentarians think it is, and they're calling for international engagement with the Hamas movement, after it helped free the BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza. The logic flows like this: Hamas played a "pivotal role" in ending Alan Johnston's detention, so, it should now join Palestinian reconciliation efforts. Fair enough ? What do you think ? You'll know that Hamas is boycotted by western powers because of its anti-Israeli stance. Plus this radical Islamist organisation has been engaged in a bitter power struggle with its secular nationalist rival Fatah, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Does some of this come down to face-saving, or put another way can Isreal and America ever talk to Hamas ? Contact details as ever, at the end of this e-mail.

Moving on. What's the connection this weekend between Sydney, Hamburg, London, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Rio, and Shanghai ? Answer: they're all involved in Saturday's global Live Earth event - with many of the world's best known pop stars (Madonna, Duran Duran, The Beastie Boys to name but three), trying to highlight what we're doing to the planet. Will you be listening ? Will you be watching ? Or are you sick of the oversized egos, the posturing, the prancing, and yet more talk about carbon footprints ? Why do we have to feel so guilty because we use a dish-washer, or leave things on stand-by, or don't actually jog to work 4 days a week and leave the car at home ? Oh, and don't forget the music -- psst & b t w has the time now come for Madonna to keep most of her body covered up. I mean she is, well, "mature". Thoughts please ....

Also, on the show today: Zimbawbwe. Inflation running at 3700 %, and an economy -- by any western measure -- in melt-down. What's it like living with that ? Shops today have been ordered to ration supplies of basic goods, and huge crowds are packing supermarkets. How do you survive ? If you're in Zimbabwe call us, talk to the world.


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